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Leaders, aides deny WikiLeaks claims

Thursday March 17, 2011 07:24:00 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: With the cash-for-vote scam resurfacing in the wake of leaked US diplomatic cables, leaders like Congress member Satish Sharma, former Samajwadi Party member Amar Singh and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh have denied any involvement in the 2008 scam.

While Amar Singh and Satish Sharma have been alleged to have played middle men and involving political aides for giving the bribe monwy, Ajit Singh's name surfaced because his party members were said to have received the bribe.

"I don't see any substance in this. Anybody can say anything, a gossip has to be substantiated or any truth has to be substantiated with evidences," Amar Singh told NDTV news channel.

Singh's aide Sanjeev Saxena was then in 2008 caught on camera giving money to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP that became subject of parliamentary inquiry but the panel eventually did not indict anyone.

A set of US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks say the US embassy was assured by Nachiketa Kapur, an alleged aide of Satish Sharma, that the party had gathered about Rs.50-60 crore to buy out votes to allow the Indo-US nuclear deal passage in parliament since the Left lawmakers had withdrawn support to the government opposing the deal.

Sharma denied having any aide named Kapur.

"I have read the Hindu paper. It said I have an aide. I do not have any political aide. There was no aide of me by the name of Kapur as reported by the paper," Sharma said.

The cables say Sharma's aide allegedly showed a US embassy official "two chests containing cash" and said Rs.50-60 crore was ready for use as "pay-offs" to win the support of some MPs ahead of the crucial vote of confidence for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the Indo-US nuke deal.

Nachiketa Kapur, named in the cable, denied the allegations as "malicious". "I vehemently deny this malicious allegation," he said.

Ajit Singh also rebutted the charges as baseless.

"Our party was against the nuclear deal and incidentally the recent event in Japan has vindicated us. We had extensive discussions with the TDP (Telugu Desam Party), the TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) and the Left and we decided to vote against the government and we did vote against the government," Singh said.

"Somebody said something and they transmitted it without is utterly baseless," Ajit Singh added.

Amar Singh also said that the facts as revealed by cables "were not true".

"First of all, Ajit Singh had got only three MPs and not four MPs; the rate formulated at that time by comrade A.B. Barshan was Rs.20 crore each and not Rs.10 crore," Singh said.

"And even if it is assumed that Rs.10 crore was paid, the fact of the entire matter is that Ajit Singh's MPs voted with Prakash Karat, L.K. Advani and Mayawati. And the claim of Mulayam Singh on the floor of the house that the Samajwadi Party played a leading role in saving the government is absolutely a bundle of falsehood," he added.








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Picture of the Day

President of India Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing at the inauguration of the National Festival of Tribal Dances, ‘PRAKRITI’, in New Delhi on March 16, 2011. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture, Kum. Selja, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Kantilal Bhuria and Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mahadev S. Khandela are also seen.

(Photo: Mukesh Kumar)



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